| Google Language tools provides students with an authentic opportunity to experience the target language. You can read newspapers in other language, listen to newscasts from other countries, and learn vocabulary along the way. If you are bold, you can have your students comment on foreign blogs and more.
What are Google Language tools and iTunes?
Although the Google Language Tools provide translation assistance, the best part about Google Language Tools is that it provides an easy way for you and your students to find authentic text, video, music, and more in a target language or from a target country.
You can change the Google interface so that your are navigating in a different language. Plus you can search the domains of different countries. For example, you can find videos from the Spanish language YouTube
. You can look for commercials, newspapers, blogs, etc. so that students can learn about culture, current events, and the language from the people who are native speakers.
iTunes is an aggregator for music and other media. The iTunes store provides access to lots of free podcasts that are either created in a target language or that are meant to teach a target language. Once you subscribe to one of these podcasts you can have students watch/listen to them from the computer or sync them with mp3 players.
Assignment #1: Analyze a Commercial to Learn About Culture
Ask students to watch the video and describe what is going on. What is the story in this commercial? Can they pick out any phrases? Analyzing the video can be a great jumping off point for a class discussion in the target language. Some students may only be able to say simple things like "He gave shirts to people." in the target language, but it can be the beginning of a great discussion.
Other assignment ideas:
- Have students read news stories in other languages. Discuss what happened in the story. Or, if students are advanced enough, have a discussion about how the coverage in the other country is similar or different from local media coverage.
- Have students do a Google image search for a simple term like 'lunch' in our domain and then in the domain of another country. Compare the images that result and have a discussion about similarities and differences. Why do they think there are differences?
- Find authentic interactive or digital texts from another country like ClicClicClic in Spanish.
How is Google Language Tools useful?
It can be hard to find authentic texts, stories, videos, etc. in a target language when you search on the United States domain. But it is incredibly easy to find these things if you search on the domain of a country that speaks that language. Google Language Tools makes it fast and easy to find:
- and more
...all in the target language.
Getting Started with Google Language Tools or iTunes
You don't need an account to use Google Language Tools
or iTunes. You just need a computer with Internet access.